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Fabric Force Elkin McCallum: 'I'm Back.'

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, November 17, 2008

Home furnishings fabric veteran and former owner of Joan Fabrics Elkin McCallum has launched a line of performance fabrics, multi-purpose and upholstery goods at his fabric mill, Texel, in Tiaxacia, Mexico, near Pueblo south of Mexico City.

McCallum bought the facility in 2007 after Joan Fabrics, which he owned, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was subsequently liquidated last year. He also has owned Madison Avenue Designs since 2002, which created designs both for the various Joan divisions and others. "The McCallum family owns Texel," he said. Texel, a 25-year-old fabric producer "has good people and equipment. I had ownership of the company and bought it back again."

"I'm back," said McCallum, who maintained a low profile after the dissolution of the Joan businesses – once the largest U.S. producer of decorative fabrics. He is based here, the former headquarters of the far-ranging Joan network of divisions. "I'm assembling the right group of people in all aspects of the business."

To that end, he has been joined by Penny Richards, a key executive in the Joan empire and a principal with him in the former Main Street Textiles; and Tom Muzekari, a veteran sales and marketing executive in decorative fabrics who also worked at the Joan Fabrics Home Fabrics division. Richards oversees Main Street's designers as well as a Taunton, Mass. design studio.

In addition, McCallum explained, "We have an incredible amount of designs and trade names as well as all rights to Mastercraft designs [another Joan division]."

Muzekari has formed his own independent sales agency to represent Texel globally, which has the capacity to produce 10 million yards a year. The sales agency's name is yet to be determined and the complete sales organization is currently being finalized, Muzekari said. The company will show during Showtime in High Point, N.C. next month on the 12th floor of Market Square Tower.

Muzekari most recently was with Glabman-Hines and was vp of the now defunct Quaker Fabrics and earlier was with Collins & Aikman.

While McCallum concedes, "Mexico will never be as cheap as China," he nonetheless maintains, "It is significantly under the U.S. manufacturing prices." Texel is targeting the mid-price point ranges "to do significant business. We see ourselves as a China alternative." There are no yardage minimums and "we have competitive lead times and pricing," McCallum said.

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